Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Olympic Games then and now

By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM

It was two years ago this week that the 2010 Winter Olympics opened in Vancouver, on Feb. 12.

Tomorrow, Feb. 15, is the deadline for candidates to submit official bids for the 2020 Summer Olympics, and this morning the shaky state of the economy whittled the field of candidates down by one.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti announced today that Rome’s bid for the 2020 Games has been scrapped. Monti said the Italian government can’t afford to guarantee the financing of the Games.

“We arrived at this unanimous conclusion that the government didn’t feel it was responsible to assume such a guarantee in Italy’s current condition,” Monti said.

Monti’s government is imposing austerity measures as the country tries to reign in its public debt and get its financial situation under control.

The remaining candidates for the 2020 Summer Olympics are expected to be Madrid, Istanbul, Doha, Tokyo and Baku, Azerbaijan, although Spain is also facing severe economic problems and high unemployment. And today Reuters reported that the European Union is likely to take action against Spain for delaying austerity measures.

The socialist government of Jose Luis Zapatero approved the Spanish 2020 Olympic bid last July but the new conservative government of Mariano Rajoy may have second thoughts.

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